Rated R for Nudity (Denis Villeneuve, 2011, Canada)

Rated R for Nudity is 2011 short by Denis Villeneuve, made for the National Film Board of Canada. The film opens with a warning to epileptic audiences, to close their eyes for the next two minutes to avoid seizures. In both English and French, the film then asks the viewer to concentrate directly on the center of the screen. The film then begins with a jarring narration in a woman's voice, who reads a narration in English, which is accompanied by the corresponding translation in French on the screen - flashing in black and white. 

In the first act, the narration - which is punctuated in the non-dialogue spaces by a low, ominous droning - talks about a dream. The second act is called "Teenage Years." It is clear, however, that there is something unconventional going on. Namely, the narration on the screen does not match the spoken narration. The narrator recalls seeing Apocalypse Now, and states she wanted to be the next Ingmar Bergman - but on the screen, instead of Ingmar Bergman, we see Steven Spielberg's name. Act 3 is called "Adult Life." 


The narration becomes increasingly incoherent, and then the screen begins flashing in black and white. The screen then shows red text on a black screen - "Your consciousness is mine" - and the ominous drone grows in loudness. The film ends abruptly. Rated R for Nudity is perhaps Villeneuve's most obtuse film, and certainly the most obtuse of the shorts we have seen here thus far. Whether or not this is an actual attempt at cinematic hypnosis is not clear. There also seems to be some attempt at subliminal imagery in the film. The film is worth a watch for Villeneuve completists but will be of limited interest to anyone outside that circle of Villeneuve fans. 

4/10

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